Which of these is not a good reason to say that Indian elections are democratic?
a. India has the largest number of voters in the world.
b. India’s Election Commission is very powerful.
c. In India, everyone above the age of 18 has a right to vote.
d. In India, the losing parties accept the electoral verdict.
Ramesh was not in class when this chapter was being taught. He came the next day and repeated what he had heard from his father. Can you tell Ramesh what is wrong with these statements?
a. Women always vote the way men tell them to. So what is the point of giving them the right to vote?
b. Party politics creates tension in society. Elections should be decided by consensus, not by competition.
c. Only graduates should be allowed to stand as candidates for elections.
Here are some reports of malpractices in Indian elections. Identify what the problem in each case is. What should be done to correct the situation?
a. Following the announcement of elections, the minister promised to provide financial aid to reopen the closed sugar mill.
b. Opposition parties alleged that their statements and campaign was not given due attention in Door darshan and All India Radio.
c. An inquiry by the Election Commission showed that electoral rolls of a state contain name of 20 lakh fake voters.
d. The hoodlums of a political party were moving with guns, physically preventing supporters of other political parties to meet the voters and attacking meetings of other parties.
Here are some reports of electoral malpractices from different parts of the world. Is there anything that these countries can learn from India to improve their elections? What would you suggest in each case?
a. During an election in Nigeria, the officer in charge of counting votes deliberately increased the votes of one candidate and declared him elected. The court later found out that more than five lakh votes cast for one candidate were counted in favour of another.
b. Just before elections in Fiji, a pamphlet was distributed warning voters that a vote for former Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhary, will lead to bloodshed. This was a threat to voters of Indian origin.
c. In the US, each state has its own method of voting, its own procedure of counting and its own authority for conducting elections. Authorities in the state of Florida took many controversial decisions that favoured Mr. Bush in the presidential elections in 2000. But no one could change those decisions.
Can we draw the following conclusions from the information given in this chapter? Give two facts to support your position for each of these.
a. Election Commission of India does not have enough powers to conduct free and fair elections in the country.
b. There is a high level of popular participation in the elections in our country.
c. It is very easy for the party in power to win an election.
d. Many reforms are needed to make our elections completely free and fair.